Cancer treatment is aimed at destruction of all malignant cells in the organism. In certain patients simple surgery can solve this problem; in others the systemic treatment is required. Unfortunately, systemic therapy can simultaneously affect healthy tissues, especially the actively proliferating ones. Red bone marrow often suffers during aggressive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Its suppression leads to failure of blood cells formation with anemia, bleedings and immunity disturbances. Stem cell therapy restores normal function of the red bone marrow and helps patient to fight cancer.
How stem cells fight cancer
Stem cell transplant has few beneficial effects in patients with oncologic disorders. The first one is restoring the immune system by stimulating synthesis of the white blood cells (leukocytes). Leukocytes are responsible for the direct destruction of the pathogenic agents (cellular immunity) and production of antibodies (humoral immunity).
The second one is restoring blood coagulation and anemia prevention. Stem cells give origin to new red blood cells (erythrocytes) that contain hemoglobin and serve as the oxygen-carriers. Platelets production ensures normal blood coagulability and excludes the cancer-related hemorrhagic syndrome.
The third one is direct attacking malignant cells by the donor stem cells in the allogeneic transplantation. Such reaction is called “graft-versus-tumor effect”. This takes place in certain leukemia forms and multiple myeloma.
Types of stem cell products
Depending on the source of the stem cells there are three main types of transplants:
- Autologous cells are harvested from the same patient who will undergo transplantation in the future. The material is taken prior to the radio- or chemotherapy performing.
- Allogeneic cells are harvested from a relative or an unrelated donor. Stem cells are deprived from the superficial antigens, so they are not rejected by the patient’s organism.
- Syngeneic cells are harvested from the identical twin, which is a highly favorable but rare case.
It should be noted that tumors also have their own stem cells. Cancer stem cell comes from the small cell subpopulation within malignant neoplasms that are capable of self-renewal and tumorigenicity. The stem cell cancer theory is currently under active study.
How the procedure of stem cell treatment is performed
Once stem cells are ready for the transplantation, they are given to a patient through an intravenous catheter. The process is similar to a blood transfusion. Typically, it takes from 1 to 5 hours. The infusion is performed under the direct medical supervision.
After that the recovery phase begins. Stem cells circulate in the bloodstream, fixating in the bone marrow. In a while they start producing new blood cells returning patient’s blood count back to normal. Immune system needs more time – from few months in the autologous transplantation to few years in the allogeneic transplantation.
Stem cell transplantation has few side effects most of which are caused by the main disease. The most common ones include nausea and vomiting, mouth and throat pain, infections, bleedings, diarrhea. These may require additional symptomatic therapy.
Cancer treatment in Germany with Booking Health
If you are going to include stem cell therapy in cancer treatment scheme, it is worth considering therapy in the leading specialized hospitals of Germany. Those patients who do not have experience of visiting foreign clinics may use services of Booking Health – the international medical tourism provider.
Booking Health will assist you in:
- Choosing the right clinic with specialization on cancer treatment with stem cells.
- Preparing the medical program in advance and explaining its stages.
- Booking the appointment in the desired hospital.
- Buying and forwarding of necessary medicines.
- Communication with the physician and clinic after therapy completion.
- Providing reasonable costs, without additional coefficients for foreigners (saving up to 50%).
- Control of final calculation and return of unspent funds.
- Organization of follow-up examinations.
- Offering service of the highest level: booking accommodation and plane tickets, transfer.
- Accompaniment of medical interpreter while staying in the hospital.
To start planning stem cell therapy you should leave the medical request on the Booking Health website. Medical advisor or patient case manager will contact you the same day to discuss further steps.